Faces of Synchro
"It taught me to believe in the seemingly impossible"
Her face is known in the world of synchronized skating, but yet her story is often not known. Lisa Miadovnik is 31 years old and currently lives in Montreal, Quebec. After spending more than twenty years on the ice, she now devotes her life to encouraging the sport. It is from the comfort of her couch that she takes the time to answer our questions.
It’s 12:38 in Montreal, Quebec when Lisa, 31 years old, answers this interview.
YOU & SYNCHRO
How did you discover synchro?
When I started learn to skate (at age 7), my club had a “precision” team that used to practice after my session. Nose pressed up against the glass, I watched in awe and learned their whole Beetle Juice program. The next year, I begged my mom to let me join synchro, and she signed me up!
What is your background in the world of synchro?
I skated recreational level synchro with my local club for 5 or 6 years and then made the jump to Gold Ice Junior (competitive) when I was 14. I was with Gold Ice for 2 seasons, and won a Junior World Bronze medal with them! Then I went to their affiliated senior team (Fusion) where I skated for 3 seasons, followed by 2 seasons with black ice. At age 21, I stopped competing to focus more on school, and at 27 with a Masters degree in hand, I missed skating so much, that I made a return to skate with Nexxice Senior for 1 final season!
What is your best "synchro" memory and why?
It’s so hard to say. One of the best memories was getting to compete with Nexxice at the Grand Prix Final in Barcelona. I remember walking to the rink in Spain and passing palm trees on the way (in December) thinking - wow, how lucky are we? It was such a blessing to get to compete in that event and to get to bring synchro to a whole new audience. It was also my first competition since coming out of retirement. I just remember being filled with such gratitude for the opportunity.
If you had to remember a program that affected you, what would it be?
Ahhhh that’s another hard one! There are so many amazing synchro programs. One that I really loved was Nexxice’s The Widow. I really wanted to skate again that season (2016-17) but wasn’t able to make it work financially. The first time I saw the program, I got shivers and was really moved by the choreography. I just remember watching it at every competition, wishing with all my heart that I could have been out there with them! It gave me all the feels.
Describe the costume you were most proud to wear…
My first year senior we wore dresses that were considered pretty “racy” for the time - open back and deep V at the front. I was the youngest on the team, skating with girls much better and more experienced than I was. I was really proud to be on that team and proud to wear that dress!
What did this sport teach you?
Everything! Resilience and drive, without question. Time management, confidence, how to work well with others, how to take care of my body, and how to work through conflicts. It taught me to always strive to be better and to take criticism as nothing more than an opportunity to improve. And maybe most importantly, it taught me to believe in the seemingly impossible, because with enough heart and hard work, it can become reality.
Which advice(s) would you give to young people who want to start synchro?
Give it a try! It is a lot of fun skating with a team, and you’ll make the best friends who will stick by your side for life! It may not be easy all the time, but the challenging times are what make you appreciate the great times, so jump in, and stick with it. You’ll be glad you did :)
What’s your favorite synchro element and why?
To watch: artistic circles because there is so much room for creativity and musical interpretation. To skate: blocks, because you feel so powerful when you are hand-to-shoulder with your teammates, riding your edges and moving as a unit.
Do you miss your synchro skater life?
Absolutely! But I’m very happy with where I am now in life.
How OTM was born?
When I retired from competing as a 28-year-old senior skater, I was honestly really conflicted. I loved the sport, but couldn’t afford it. I’d seen the sport develop so much, yet it was still not in the Olympics. I just felt like there was so much work and advocacy to be done for the sport. I wondered what would happen if I took the 20+ hours a week I spent training as a senior skater and put it toward helping the sport in some way. That is really how it was born - a passion for synchro, and a desire to make a difference by channeling the strength of our community.
What do you think about the development of OneTeamMVMT?
OneTeamMVMT started as an idea, which quickly became a “pro-synchro” movement, identified by our branded t-shirts. It has grown to become more than that though; we have held giveaways to support the community with financial and product donations, we have organized 6 synchro development camps in 3 countries, we have brought the community together, and provided free activities to celebrate synchro at over 30 competitions - in just 3 years.
What are your goals for the coming years?
My goals for OneTeamMVMT are to build more development camps in areas of need, create more givebacks that support skaters and teams (ie rolling out a synchro grant program), increase community involvement and expansion, attract more corporate partners that can help us spread awareness of the sport, and the list goes on.
We really want to see the global, grassroots expansion of OneTeamMVMT, so that everyone can experience the benefits of OTM. We feel the best way to do that is to bring on skaters to Champion OTM within their teams, and parents/synchro alumni to bring free & fun OTM activities to their local competitions. We hope to start rolling these programs out in the next year!
Essentially, our goals are driven by the questions we keep asking the community; “What do you want to see in synchro? What is holding the sport back? What is it missing?” and then we build strategies to address the issues.
That's all for this week! See you soon for a new episode of "Woman of the week"!
Article: Remo De Tomi
Photos: Kristen Loritz
Editing: Katie Melsky & Amélie Rossé